2nd Net Zero Energy Workshop: a Big Success!

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Graham Ottoson shows air-source heat pump used in her Gourdlandia studio. Photo: Jim Bosjolie

“Well presented, knowledgeable speakers, tours were excellent,” said one architect.

“I appreciated the participation of the attendees who are actively involved in design and construction,” said another.

These were just a few of the positive comments by participants in the September 28 and 29th workshop, “What it Takes: Net-Zero Energy Building Design” held at EcoVillage Ithaca on a rainy Monday and Tuesday.

Architects, engineers and builders at the Net Zero Workshop. Presenters are: Ian Shapiro front row, second from right. Liz Walker, next to him in blue sweater. Photo: Michele Foin

Architects, engineers and builders at the Net Zero Workshop. Presenters are: Ian Shapiro front row, second from right. Liz Walker, next to him in blue sweater. Photo: Michele Foin

Our second two-day workshop on Net-Zero Energy Building went very well. It was wonderful to work again with Ian Shapiro and his team from Taitem Engineering. Ian was the main workshop presenter, very organized and thorough in teaching the basics of truly green building design, “from the outside in.” This time we improved the workshop by adding in two break-out sessions, more discussion and more in-depth tours of all three neighborhoods.

We had 16 participants with 9 architects, 2 builders and 5 engineers. Most were from New York state, but one builder came from the Philadelphia area. The workshop was co-sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council Upstate NY chapter, which helped us to access 14 continuing education credits for both architects and LEED certified professionals.

Jeff Gilmore explains the 50kW solar array. Photo: Jim Bosjolie

Jeff Gilmore explains the 50kW solar array. Photo: Jim Bosjolie

Our EcoVillage team was wonderful – Jared Jones and Liz Walker led tours both days, Kendall & Mike Carpenter showed people the TREE Common House and answered TREE construction questions, Jeff Gilmore led tours of the FROG solar array, Graham and Otto showed off the Air Source Heat Pump in the gourd workshop,  Arlene Muzyka kept the registration process well organized, Barbara Chasin and Dick Franke showed their home in FROG, and Ray Stiefel opened his house in TREE, Debra Walsh (new renter in TREE) made delicious meals and snacks, Jim Grant, Dawn Montanye, Karen Reixach, Terry Hadley, and Ray Stiefel all helped with assistant cooking and/or clean-up, and Jared & Karen also did parking detail. Jim Bosjolie took photos, and Michele Foin (French journalist) interviewed presenters. What a team!

The SONG Common House was a lovely venue for the workshop, and offered a cozy haven from the rain on Tuesday.

Evaluations were very positive – people were impressed with the teaching, information, and EcoVillage itself as a great place to see many of the principles in action.

Suggestions for improvements included more time for covering indoor air quality, more separate and in-depth treatment of residential and commercial buildings, risks and durability issues with moisture in tighter buildings.